Himura Kenshin is the main protagonist and titular character of the Rurouni Kenshin anime and manga.
Kenshin is a wanderer formerly known as Hitokirri Battoussai, a deadly man-slayer who slaughtered many men in the war before the Meiji Era.
In the AWA fics, he is part of the AWA and serves as the adviser of the Kendo Club.
Of small, slender build and with a youthful, feminine visage, Himura Kenshin cuts quite a different figure than would be expected of the legendary Hitokiri Battōsai and his appearance belies his twenty-eight years of age, making him look roughly ten years younger, but he is easily recognized by his infamous distinguishing features: mid-back length red hair tied in a thick ponytail and a cross-shaped sword scar on his left cheek.
Kenshin's hair is thick and abundant, with all of the shorter frontal hairs falling across his face as bangs rather than being in the ponytail at the nape of his neck. During the revolution, Kenshin wore his ponytail higher and at the end of the series, he has cut the ponytail entirely (presumably to prevent his son from pulling on it) and wears his hair evenly at about chin length. Kenshin's eyes, too, are unusual, being a deep violet. In the anime series, when Kenshin's eyes change to reflect his psychological reversion to Hitokiri Battōsai, their color shifts from violet to gold.
Kenshin's cross-shaped scar actually consists of two separate scars--a long one running diagonally down his face from just below the outer corner of his left eye to just above his chin and a slightly shorter scar running diagonally across it in the other direction from just to the left of the bridge of his nose to his left jawbone.
Kenshin dresses simply, wearing a plain men's kimono of cheap, worn cloth with a white umanori hakama, zori and white tabi. In the anime series, Kenshin's kimono is almost always a soft red like burgundy, but in the manga, he alternates between this, a bolder red, purple and deep blue. His sakabatō is worn under his obi at his left hip in a black, steel saya. in live action film Kenshin wears brown kimono
Soft-spoken, serene and humble, Himura Kenshin's usual demeanor suits his effeminate appearance perfectly. Always willing to put others before himself, both in terms of well-being and social standing, Kenshin usually refers to others with the noble honorific of "-dono" while nearly always speaking of himself with the particularly humble pronoun "sessha" (translated by Viz as "this one") and ending his phrases with the formal verb "de gozaru" (translated by Media Blasters as phrases like "that it is" or "that I am"). He carries himself with an air of amicable temperance, politely conversing with the people he encounters and freely giving his meager services to those who need a hand. Kenshin doesn't hesitate to put himself in the path of harm to shield those around him and often attempts to diffuse contentious situations with soft, calming words and a somewhat clownish personality involving feigned clumsiness and his trademark interjection "oro" (a unique pronunciation of "ara"). These traits lead those unfamiliar with Kenshin to view him as ineffectual or easily exploitable, but more perceptive people become aware in short order that his gift for placatory eloquence and veiled redirection of disagreeable situations suggest a deep wisdom belied by his youthful, unassuming visage.
Despite his demeanor in Meji era, Kenshin was a very complex man during the Bakumatsu. As a teenager, Kenshin was impertinent, idealistic, and often easily embarrassed or flustered. He often tried to maintain a certain image among his colleagues in the Ishin Shishi, being quick to anger when dealing with taunts about his relationship with Tomoe during their time before going into hiding, such as when he silently threatened Izuka with his sword for making remarks about him and Tomoe. This tendency to be caught off guard or embarrassed in romantic or sexual matters of women remained with him well into his twenties. One such example was during the Jinchuu Arc when Sano lied to Kaoru about what they were planning on doing, telling her that they would be checking out the Red Light district, embarrassing both Kenshin and Kaoru, and earning a blushing look of anger from the rurouni.
Tormented by his past as a hitokiri, Kenshin has developed an acute appreciation for life and has taken a vow in his heart to never again kill another person and to do everything within his power to protect people from being killed. This vow is the defining characteristic of Kenshin's personality and the primary motivation for his transition into a rurouni. Despite this, however, he holds his own existence cheap and carries in his heart a grievous guilt that prevents him from becoming emotionally close to the people around him and compels him to a life of humble service and selfless personal sacrifice. Even with his prodigious skill as a prolific swordsman, Kenshin refrains from wielding his great combat strength for his own sake, drawing his sword only for the well-being of others when words fail to appease. Though unwilling to simply be killed by unrelated attackers, Kenshin freely accepts that any grudges against his past self are well-deserved; he remembers the face of every person he has wronged as the Hitokiri Battōsai and will face their hatred or judgment without complaint, believing that he does not deserve the same happiness as others. Spending much of his alone time in quiet contemplation of his past misdeeds and future retribution, Kenshin often ponders what the right path toward redemption is and laments each life lost due to his weakness. As such, he has a tendency toward trying to solve problems all by himself and alienating his would-be allies with secrecy so as to keep them from becoming involved in his risky endeavors. Having lived his own life carrying heavy regrets, Kenshin is reluctant to judge others for their personal actions, beliefs or mistakes and always offers hopeful encouragement so that those who have stumbled onto the wrong path might redeem themselves in the future. However, when forced to draw his sword against those who abuse their power and undervalue the lives of others, Kenshin's calm temperament gives way to a marked intensity capable of intimidating even other skilled swordsmen and can go so far as to become a powerful fury, despite his compulsion toward diplomacy.
But when his strength as a rurouni is insufficient to defend against a particularly threatening foe, Kenshin's restraint falters and his personality reverts to that of his days as the Hitokiri Battōsai. He immediately abandons his serene humility, reverting from sessha to the more abrasive pronoun "ore" while dropping de gozaru and orofrom his speech. Kenshin's normally warm nature becomes cold and distant, allowing him to contemplate taking the life of his opponent and even make vicious, bloodthirsty threats. This side of his personality is one that Kenshin struggles to suppress despite the fact that it keeps emerging when he is under great stress and in need of extra strength. His greatest fear is that, one day, he will return to his former self and become a hitokiri once more.
As time passes, however, Kenshin learns to trust the people around him with the truth about himself as well as with some of the burden he bears, understanding that his life, too, is a human one and that his friends and allies would suffer greatly if he were to die.
Kenshin, in keeping with his soft appearance, appears to be quite skilled at domestic work as many of the Kamiya dojo residents comment favorably on his cooking and he is frequently seen performing such tasks as grocery shopping, floor and shoji door cleaning and laundry. While he does all of these things diligently and eagerly, it appears that his taste for them is an acquired one which he displays only to strangers and new acquaintances, as he was loath to perform even the simplest chore on Hiko Seijūrō's orders. However, it has also been shown that Kenshin's handwriting is not very good (with several characters comparing it unfavorably to that of Watsuki's).
Kenshin is also an unparalleled orator, capable of spinning eloquence or humor into an offhand comment and prone to making grand, moving speeches off the top of his head. While maintaining his cool, he is rather adept at philosophical arguments, swiftly seeing the cracks in any opponent's logic without missing a beat in conversation.
Kenshin is perhaps most well known for his almost inhuman swordsmanship. Having inherited the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū sword style from his master, Hiko Seijūrō XIII, Kenshin's light frame allows him to use the style's "godspeed" to its fullest, moving so rapidly that he routinely outpaces the human eye. In the unlikely event his first strike misses his enemies, Kenshin uses his sheath to attack his opponent, making it almost impossible to beat him once he takes the battojutsu stance. His own prowess with Battōjutsu earned him his infamous moniker.
- Kenshin is the first character from Rurouni Kenshin to be introduced in the AWA fics.